Thursday, April 24, 2014

How to Transform a Relationship

Have you ever felt neglected by someone? Or by a group of people? It can happen between friends, siblings, groups at church, or basically anywhere people interact. I've been there. Sometimes, I expect certain behavior from people, and when I don't get it, I wander off from the relationship feeling slighted instead of doing the one thing that could restore the relationship: doing for the other person or group of people what I wish they would do for me.

If I wish one of my siblings would talk to me more, when was the last time I tried contacting them? If I wish a group of people at my church was more involved with me and my peers, when was the last time I put together an effort to bless them? Sure, maybe the other party is older and so they (in my mind) should be taking the lead in our relationship. But you know what? If I recognize a problem and I want it fixed, I had better be willing to start the work. Otherwise, I'm not sure I have a right to complain.

In the book The Five Love Languages for Singles, Gary Chapman gives example after example of children who recognized a flaw in their relationships with their parents. Instead of bemoaning the problem, he encourages the children to figure out what love language they need to work on and to put it into practice with their parents. The result is transformed relationships. Not overnight, mind you, but with time and continued effort, things change for the better.

I'm not always the best at this. Sometimes, I'm bitter and stubborn. But, I've seen it too, that if I put in the effort, the relationship will (usually) improve. Let's all soften up and be the first to reach out. After all, while we were still sinners, Christ reached out to us. Don't we have an obligation to reach out, too?

Your Sister

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